New training to investigate coercive control

Officers and staff to get new face-to-face training for domestic abuse

​Police officers and staff who investigate domestic abuse will receive new training in recognising and tackling the offence of coercive control.

The new legislation, which came into force on 29 December under the Serious Crime Act 2015, means those who subject victims to repeated controlling or coercive behaviour face up to five years in prison. This behaviour can include threats, humiliation or intimidation, and can also affect a victim's quality of life by stopping a partner or family member from socialising or wearing certain clothing.

We developed a specialist package of face-to-face training to teach frontline police officers and staff and investigators how to recognise a pattern of coercive control behind a report of abuse and secure evidence of this to support a prosecution.

The package was delivered to all forces last month, who will now begin training sessions.

Victims of controlling and coercive behaviour have provided video testimonies as part of the training so investigators can hear the impact of this type of behaviour.

College lead for crime and criminal justice, David Tucker, said: "Coercive control is an insidious pattern of behaviour that can start very gradually but build up to have an enormous impact on the victim.

"As the individual incidents of coercive control may not on their own meet the threshold of a criminal offence, it is vital police are trained to recognise an overall cumulative pattern.

"This can make evidence gathering more complex. More importantly, it delivers greater opportunities to safeguard victims and achieve successful prosecutions.

"Forces are now responsible for delivering these training packages to officers and staff who are involved at any stage of a domestic abuse investigation."

The training comes on the back of police guidance for domestic abuse which was published last September.

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